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What Happens for Workers’ Comp When You Are an Independent Contractor

What Happens for Workers’ Comp When You Are an Independent Contractor

Workers’ compensation claims do not always go as planned because the employer or insurance company may deny your benefits for various reasons. If your claim has been wrongfully denied, the Riverside workers’ compensation attorneys at Heiting & Irwin, APLC can fight on your behalf.

Although California has recently tightened its laws about when a hiring entity can classify you as an independent contractor to try to avoid covering you for Workers’ Compensation, they can still potentially meet a new legal test that would still allow them to deny your benefits. But you have the ability to fight.  This can shift the burden to the hiring entity to have to show that you are an independent contractor. Here, only the facts and circumstances of the work that you do matter in the final determination.

Call the workers’ comp lawyers at Heiting & Irwin to fight back when your workers’ compensation benefits have been wrongfully denied, or to discuss your potential Workers’ Compensation claim.  Richard Irwin is a State Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist.Time limits apply so it is vital that you call today. 

Hiring Entities Must Meet a Test to Call You an Independent Contractor

When you file for workers’ compensation benefits, you will seek both the medical care and lost wage benefits that they provide. However, you may be shocked and angry when your claim comes back denied or when you are told that you do not qualify for benefits. One reason why your claim may be denied is because the entity that hired claims that you are not an employee. They may have classified you as an independent contractor, a classification not entitled to employee benefits such as workers’ compensation. 

However, the employer’s classification is not the final word when your workers’ comp claim has been denied. The employer wants to call you an independent contractor because it means that they would not have to cover workers’ compensation insurance premiums. However, they do not get to control how you are treated when the specifics of your work arrangement with them speak otherwise.

There is a well-known three-part test for determining whether one is really an independent contractor. When you challenge this, a judge would look at the facts and circumstances of your arrangement. The test is known as the “ABC Test.” The three parts of the analysis are as follows:

    • Control: The Court will look at the control of the hiring entity and how you performed the work. A court would look at things like whether you set your own schedule and supervision of tasks as performed.  Who directed you to do it and the details of how and why you did it the way you did.
    • Whether the Work Is Within the Hiring Entity’s Business: To be an independent contractor, The worker should be performing tasks that are different from what the company’s other workers do. For example, if a bakery hires cake decorators, they are performing the same work as employees.  If they hire a plumber, probably not.
  • Independently Established Trade: If the worker has a business in place at the time that they are hired, the test would lean toward a result of independent contractor. 

There has been a lot of activity recently in California to cut back on the amount of workers who have been classified as independent contractors. Recently, Bill AB5 codified the ABC test as law. However, numerous industries, such as the rideshare companies, managed to get their own arrangement excepted from the law. These issues are constantly being tested in the courts, and constitutionality is being challenged.  Having a good, knowledgeable lawyer is important!

What to Do When Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Wrongfully Denied

You always have a chance to challenge the company that you are working for in court if you believe that you have been misclassified as an independent contractor. Just because the company calls you something does not mean that it is what you are. The legal system will have the final say in whether you are entitled to benefits.  (Remember that it is the hiring entity who has the burden of proof to show that you are an independent contractor.) 

If you want to maximize your chances and benefits with the hiring entity and secure your workers’ compensation rights, you should do the following:

  • Immediately contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to represent you
  • File an appeal with the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, if necessary
  • Document the circumstances of your work with the hiring entity
  • Gather and provide all pay records, communications, work orders, documents and work records, and provide them to your lawyer.

Contact a Riverside Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

Schedule a free consultation with Riverside workers’ comp lawyers at Heiting & Irwin when you have a difficult workers’ compensation claim. You can call us today at 951-682-6400 or send us a message through our website to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. 

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